Anderson Cooper tried to get CNN’s medical analyst to criticize the Biden administration for loosening guidelines on wearing masks outside but she instead said they should ease them even more.
Leana Wen made the comments while appearing on Cooper’s show on Monday evening after the CDC released new guidelines for mask wearing for those who have been vaccinated.
“Is that a risk?” asked Cooper of the new mask guidelines. “Are more people just going to start taking off their masks, whether or not they have been vaccinated? It’s not like anybody’s checking.”
“I think, frankly, outdoor-mask mandates should just go, regardless of whether you’re vaccinated,” Wen responded.
“I actually think outdoor mask mandates can go, but I also think we can do a lot more with, specifically, incentivizing vaccination, including allowing businesses to come back at full capacity if they are checking for proof of vaccination,” she added.
Wen also chided the administration for not incentivizing people to get the vaccine.
“I understand that the Biden team wants to be cautious, but caution comes at a price,” Wen said earlier in the interview.
“And that price is that people are saying, well, what’s the point of getting vaccinated? If not that much changes for me. I think that what the Biden administration has been doing is to say, here’s what we, as a society, should do. Once we reach a certain level of vaccination in the society, once the infection level decreases, we’ll lift restrictions for everyone,” she explained.
“But I think they’re discounting that many Americans want to know, what’s in it for me? They don’t want to wait until everyone gets to some elusive herd immunity,” Wen continued.
“I think it will be a lot more effective if we say once you are fully vaccinated, that’s the end of the road for you,” she added. “So at that point, you’re able to take off your mask outside. You’re able to go about enjoying many aspects of pre-pandemic life. I think that is going to be key to overcoming vaccine hesitancy.”
Wen then posted the video of some of her comments on her Twitter account.
“Here’s what I hope the Biden team will announce today,” Wen tweeted. “They need to give much more latitude to what fully vaccinated people can do. I understand the need for caution, but caution comes at a price. We need to clearly tell Americans all the benefits that come with being vaccinated.”
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci offered similar conclusions on Sunday on CNN.
“The risk when you’re outdoors – which we have been saying all along – is extremely low,” said Fauci. “And if you are vaccinated, it’s even lower. So you’re going to be hearing about those kinds of recommendations soon.”